Deak Parsons fought his primary battles in the laboratory and then went into combat with the weapons he helped to create.
Expectations ran high at this meeting of 4 August 1945 on the island of Tinian, 5,900 miles from San Francisco and 1,500 from mainland Japan. At 1500, group commander Colonel Paul Tibbets informed the mixed military and civilian group that orders had arrived to deliver upon the enemy "the gadget" that had been the object of their secret tests and practice bombings of the past ten months. Tibbets announced there was one person present who had witnessed the gadget's awesome power: Captain William Parsons.
A tall, thin naval officer known as "Deak" stepped forward. His penetrating brown eyes engaged the audience. The eagles on his khaki collar reminded the airmen present that as a Navy captain he was equivalent in rank to Tibbets, a "bird colonel." Receding hair and high forehead gave an impression of uncommon cerebral capacity. His 44 years made him 14 years older than Tibbets and nearly twice the age of most of the airmen and scientists present.